Six light rail stations, closed since February because of construction of a second track, will reopen on schedule Sunday, according to Maryland Transit Administration officials.
The stations - Westport, Cherry Hill, Patapsco Avenue, Baltimore Highlands, Nursery Road and North Linthicum - were closed Feb. 28 so that crews could add a second track to the southern half of the rail system. The new track will eliminate delays and make it easier for crews to perform repairs, officials said.
"Too many times in the past, riders have been delayed because their light rail train had to move off to the side to allow another train to pass," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan. "With a second track, we do not have that problem."
An additional five stations - Linthicum, Ferndale, Cromwell Station, Baltimore-Washington International Airport and BWI Business Center - are expected to open in the fall when construction is complete, said MTA spokesman Richard Scher. Until then, shuttles will be used to transport riders.
By closing the stations and using shuttles, crews shaved three months off the construction schedule, Scher said.
Work to add a second track to the northern half of the light rail system could begin early next year, Scher said. When the entire project is finished - in 2006 - all but a few miles of the rail system will have two tracks, one each for north- and south-bound traffic.
Scher said there are several areas where a lack of available land makes it impossible to add a second track.